Metuchen High School: GIMP

Animated GIF

8 points


This exercise introduces you to creating animated GIFs.  You are not expected to re-create the example below.  See the Exercise section below to see what you are expected to do.

The GIF format supports only 256 colors so it is more appropriate for drawings or cartoons than for photographs.  (The JPEG format commonly used for photographs supports 16 million colors.)  It is a good idea to keep the dimensions of an animated GIF relatively small in order to keep its file size reasonable.

Here is my simple animated GIF:

To start making an animated GIF like this, you'll need to find an image you want to use.  I found this bulldog, which has a width of 155 pixels and a height of 150 pixels.

Open a new project.  Decide on a size for the GIF.  I made the GIF's height the same as the bulldog's but I made its width significantly greater than the bulldog's width (400 pixels), to leave room for text.  I opened the image of the bulldog, copy-pasted it onto the new image and used the Move tool to move it to the right.

Open the Layers dialog (CTRL-L).  I wanted the bulldog to appear in each of the frames of the animated GIF, so I chose Duplicate Layer (a button at the bottom of the Layers dialog) 3 times.  I right-clicked on each layer, chose "Edit Layer Attributes" and renamed each layer.

I clicked on the first layer I wanted to add text to.  I then chose the Text tool and typed "METUCHEN HIGH SCHOOL".  When I started to type, GIMP created a new layer with the text.  After I was finished editing the text, I right-clicked on the layer holding the text and chose "Merge Down".  This merged the layer with the text onto the layer holding the image of the bulldog.

I repeated this process with 2 more layers, adding "GRAPHICS" to one layer and "USING GIMP" to the other.

To set how long each layer will display in the finished GIF, right-click on each layer and choose "Edit Layer Attributes".  After the layer's name, in parentheses enter the number of milliseconds you want the layer to display.  If the layer is named "Layer 2" and you want it to display for 2.5 seconds, you would type this: Layer 2 (2500ms)

Sometimes the last image that a person puts into the layer dialog box does not appear in the completed animated GIF. To deal with this, you can add a blank image as the last image in the layer dialog box. Then your actual last image should display and the blank image should be skipped.

To create the animated GIF, do File > Save.  Then do File > Export. Hit the plus sign next to Select File Type, in the lower-left hand corner of the dialog. Choose GIF image and click Export. Click the As Animation box. You can select Loop Forever.  For "Frame disposal where unspecified," choose One Frame Per Layer.  Click "Use disposal entered above for all frames".  Click Export.  Then preview your animated GIF: Filters > Animation > Playback.

Make an animated GIF with 4 or more frames.

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